I have thought a lot about writing, and have long wondered how to write and be loyal and sensitive to the people in my world. Rue Rude, an interesting ex-pat blog captures it well (click on the words Diary vs. Blog to read the entire entry--it's worth a diversion):
" Sometimes I wish I could write hilarious posts about my family and friends, like other blogs, or moving stories about my child or my personal life, or even just make things up off the top of my head. But I can't. For one thing, I'm not that funny or sensitive.
"But anyway, all that stuff goes straight into volume XXXIII of my real diary, which is indeed scintillating ("One should always have something sensational to read on the train"). (Volume II, left. Ages 9-13.)
"Much of the reason is just that being older than a lot of you, I don't feel I can expose my life to that extent, because it's not just my own life that would be exposed.
"I was once very poor and everyone I knew was poor, and that's easy to write about, thank goodness: one of the few blessings of poverty. I still know plenty of poor people. "For ye have the poor always with you." But now I also have friends and acquaintances who get cars and airplanes for Christmas, tied up in a red bow; who own castles; who know the Presidents of the United States; who are well known or famous in the media; who run large companies; who have become major donors to museums. Frankly, you can't write about them. Not in a blog. Too bad, it would be great copy. But I'd rather keep my friends. And that's the last I can say about it."I guess that's why fiction is safer, although after reading Joan Didion's A Year of Magical Thinking, I may re-think that idea as well. She recounts how her husband "lifted" parts of his young daughter's sayings in order to write one of his novels. And I think of my father's admonition that if you don't want to be written about, don't be acquainted with a writer.
I go round and round with this.